Mac OS X is a thoroughly modern operating system, except for the shocking lack of an uninstall program. Dragging an application to the trash removes the app itself from your hard drive (well, after you empty your trash), but this method leaves behind many associated files that got installed along with the app. Thankfully, there is a free third-party app that rounds up all of the supporting files rattling around your hard drive and deletes them along with whatever app you are uninstalling.
While quitting an application in OS X generally involves pressing Command-Q or selecting "Quit" from the application menu (immediately to the right of the Apple menu), there are times when an application may be hung up and require force-quitting. This kills the running process without any checks for unsaved data, and while not always recommended, may sometimes be the last resort for restoring an application (and sometimes the system) to a functional state.
If you find yourself with an unresponsive application and see a spinning color wheel cursor whenever you attempt to interact with the program, then you … Read more
I thought my MacBook Pro was running slow last week because of the heatwave we experienced on the East Coast. I know I was operating at a slower pace because of the heat and humidity, and the lack of AC in my house. Things have cooled considerably this week, but my MacBook Pro still feels sluggish. Now, I could undertake a thorough cleaning as outlined in a previous post, but I'll save that for another day. In the meantime, I'm going perform a quick check to make sure my disk permissions are neat and orderly.
When you install … Read more
Since I started writing content for the How To blog, screenshots have become a staple of my work. Usually their purpose is to show the reader how to perform an action in a more precise way than words can express.
As you may imagine, I have tried a lot of different ways to take and save screenshots. The most basic method, PrtScr (Print Screen), still requires pasting the copied image into an editor and then saving it. While this is great because it is built-in, it makes the process more complex than necessary. Even though none of the screenshot utilities … Read more
Newer versions of Chrome spruce up the New Tab page by adding some shortcuts to your most-visited Web sites or Chrome apps. A previous extension I wrote about, New Tab Page adds the weather, some headlines, and links to Chrome apps. Onefeed does all of this, plus a custom newsfeed and social media updates from Facebook, Google+, Twitter, and Instagram. You can also attach your Dropbox account, if you really want to.
There are several ways to reset an account password in OS X. The primary method is to use the Users & Groups system preferences, under which you can use the "Change Password" option for your account (called "Reset Password" for other accounts), but you can also use the hidden "resetpassword" tool in the OS X Recovery drive; or if you are savvy with the Terminal, boot your system to Single-User mode and use the "passwd" or "dscl" commands to give a specified account a new password.
While all of these … Read more
Apple's Gatekeeper data execution management service offers increased security for OS X users, but at times it may block some legitimate programs, especially at its highest security settings.
The three levels of Gatekeeper security in OS X are to allow all programs, allow programs signed with a valid Apple Developer ID, or allow only programs that are distributed through the Mac App Store. With the two more restrictive levels, the system requires explicit instruction to run an untrusted application. While this approach increases security, if you have Gatekeeper set to higher security levels then you may run into problems … Read more
Ransomware scams are nothing new to computer users; one one making the rounds attempts to disguise itself as an FBI cybercrime intervention for suspected nefarious activity. If you get stung by this scam (generally the fastest way is by using underground pirated software search engines and pornographic sites that redirect to the scam page, but even innocent image searches will get you there if you're not careful), the site will present a notice claiming to come from the FBI "Cyber Department." It states that the system's browser has been seized and recorded, and that the user … Read more
When searching for items in OS X, you can use the Spotlight menu or perform a Finder search routine. Finder, unlike the Spotlight menu, offers a number of filtering options you can add to your search to narrow down results, and you can even save them as canned searches that Apple calls Smart Folders.
To create a filtered search, simply press Command-F in the Finder, and the foremost window will convert to a search window, or you can start entering a search term in the Finder search bar at the top right of each window.
With the search window active, … Read more
The print-to-PDF feature in OS X is convenient for quickly preserving a document's layout in the PDF format, so it can be viewed on most computers and tablets. If you would like to send someone a formatted document that contains sensitive information, you may want to add the step of protecting it with a password.
To do this, you can use a container format such as a ZIP file or an encrypted disk image (using the Disk Utility program in OS X); however, these may be a bit cumbersome to manage, both for the sender and recipient.
An alternative … Read more